Why was music such a big deal in the 1920s?

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Prior to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, music as a leisure activity was heavily classed. While everyone had the capability to enjoy some form of music, only the upper classes could afford to go to concert halls or hire musicians for private events. Until the invention of the phonograph in 1877 by Thomas Edison, music had to be enjoyed in a live performance. The phonograph wasn't an ideal system for consumer enjoyment of recorded music, though, and in 1887 Emile Berliner produced the first gramophone- or record player. 

By the 1920s, mass-marketing of the gramophone and records enabled many people to bring pre-recorded music into their own homes. With the concurrent rise in popularity of radio, people could now have copies of their favorite songs on hand to listen to at leisure. The 1920s was both a post-war period and had a recently expanded middle class, thanks to the Industrial Revolution. For many, the 1920s was a time of financial growth, expendable income, and leisure activities- like music. Music doubled as a social activity, with many going to public dance-halls or jazz clubs in their free time.